Paul Wheaton and

For quite some time now (at least two years) I have been participating/lurking at the largest Permaculture site online, If you are not familiar with the site Permies is run by a gentleman by the name of Paul Wheaton who in his own words is “bonkers about permaculture”. No less a permaculture dignitary than Geoff Lawton named Paul “The Duke of Permaculture”. Permies is a fascinating place to hang out. There are forums for almost every subject related to permaculture and regenerative growing that you can imagine, forums for raising animals, creating berms, hugelkultur beds and everything else you can think of.

Paul also has a YouTube channel and over 400 podcasts on a mountain of different subjects. Paul has just completed successfully getting funded for his 7th Kickstarter project. The current project is going to be a 2 hour DVD explaining what a Rocket Oven is and how to build one. For people not familiar with Rocket Mass Heater / Rocket Oven technology it is a super-efficient way to heat a space, in case of the Rocket Mass Heater, or cook with, in the case of the Rocket Oven. The Rocket Oven burns a small amount of wood and functions like a normal oven, only more efficiently. I am a supporter of this particular Kickstarter and am looking forward to building one of these ovens and trying it out. Those of you who know me, and those of you joining us on our journey through a Tiny Sustainable Life, know I love projects and I am really looking forward to this one.

I’m currently in the middle of building an ornamental pond in our back yard (more on that in future posts). What are you building/making? How about projects you started but never finished? What happened with that?

Blogging is Hard

Man blogging is hard. At least consistent blogging is hard for me I should say. Some people seem to do it effortlessly, like Susy at Chiot’s Run. I don’t remember exactly how I got turned on to Brian and Susy’s podcast, I think it might have been from a mention on Jack Spirko’s Survival Podcast. However I got there I listened to the first podcast from this fantastic couple and I was hooked. It was a little like being part of their family, vicariously listening as they discussed the day-by-day trials and adventures of moving to a homestead in Maine and learning a more “organic lifestyle”. As I caught up on the weekly podcasts I started to learn about other homesteading and permaculture resources, as well as a few interesting side journeys like discovering the No Agenda Show by Adam Curry and John C. Divorak (but more on that in another post).


Eventually Brian felt like they had covered everything unique about their homesteading process and terminated the podcasts but Susy has continued to blog, almost daily, for a long time. She is always upbeat, encouraging and includes beautiful pictures from around their homestead and from places they visit. Reading her posts each morning is  becoming like having coffee with an old friend even though we have never met. Anyway, to bring it back around to the point I don’t know whether her ability to write consistently is natural or disciplined work turned into a habit but her steadfastness in pursuing her craft is something I hope to emulate going forward.

If anyone else struggles with doing things consistently I would love to hear how you attempt combat that trend. Please write me and let me know.

Winter in Kansas

Today is January 20th in Kansas (actually it’s probably January 20th everywhere except across the international dateline) and for a change the weather is not as cold as it has been.  For the last several weeks we have had below zero lows and highs ranging from 8 to 20 degrees. Most people would agree that is fairly cold. In the fall I built some cold frames and things were going along swimmingly until the weather got brutal. I’ve read many people who cheerfully grow veg in their frames all winter. In none of the accounts did I read what happens when you have long periods of sub-zero weather. Well I can attest from personal experience my Swiss Chard and most everything else did not enjoy it. I’m hoping that it will come back as temperatures get warmer, I guess we’ll wait and see.

Anyone out there have cold frames? What have you had success with? How have your plants fared in extreme weather? As we journey on our path towards sustainability I find that there are always more things to learn and more things to try. Stay warm, Keep learning…

Mother Earth News Fair

So we (my wife, Miss Mercy,  was there also) just got home from the first day of the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka, Ks. In case you are not familiar with the Mother Earth News magazine it is published by Ogeden Publications in Topeka, Kansas so it was nice when they started having the one of the fairs in our home town. They hold several a year in various locations throughout the U.S. The fair is a mix of vendors, workshops and lectures on homesteading, gardening, solar power, sustainable living, portable saw mills and oddly enough, infrared chairs to fix your aching back. Like most of life some of the events are great and some are not so great.

So far a couple of the breakout sessions that we attended were very informational. Miss Mercy went to one by Shawn and Beth Dougherty on adding a cow to your Homestead. The Dougherty’s have a new book out, The Independent Farmstead, which I’ve just started reading and so far it’s a very worthwhile read. It’s a really interesting event, especially if you’re into homesteading or possibly just people watching. We’ve attended all four years they’ve been having it here and we haven’t regretted it yet. If you have a chance to go to one near you we highly recommend it, it’s an interesting experience and you might actually learn some really interesting things. Sadly this year we were ready to purchase a broadfork for our garden and the vendor we were hoping to get it from was not there this year – so road trip or mail order – we’ll let you know how it goes…

Why Tiny Sustainable Life?

What is a Tiny Sustainable Life? Should I care? Does it require me to have long hair, a beard, wash rarely or not all, smell of patchouli oil and listen to a lot of Grateful Dead? *

Of course not! Anyone can live a sustainable life, or at least live in a more sustainable way then they are now.  I have short hair, a corporate job and live in Kansas with my wife, Miss Mercy.  We (I’m pretty sure based on our recent discussions that it’s “we”) are looking for a way back to an idolized simpler time. I say idolized because we don’t really want to live in the 1800’s with the bugs and dirt and general hard living that entailed. We do want to be more self-sufficient, grow more of our own food, reuse, recycle and repair and generally be less wasteful. This is our on-going story of what our journey towards those goals look like. Let me assure you, if we can get there, I promise you can too. So join us on our journey to get through this thing called life..

*Please note: I  mean no offense to hippies, who probably don’t have internet, or Dead Heads, who are some of the best people I know…